UCLA alumnus Mukund Padmanabhan has made a gift of $2.5 million in support of Engineering VI, the new building under construction for the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science.
The donation is the fourth Padmanabhan has made to his alma mater, and the largest. His three previous donations, of $500,000 each, support the Guru Krupa Foundation fellowships in Electrical Engineering. The new $2.5 million contribution will create the Mukund Padmanabhan Systems Scaling Technology Laboratory in Engineering VI.
The lab will be dedicated to making advances in the performance, cost-effectiveness and energy efficiency of heterogeneously integrated microsystems, including 3-D integrated circuits and assemblies. Such systems have extensive commercial and industrial applications, ranging from cellphones and computers to equipment used in sophisticated health care, military and space applications.
Padmanabhan, whose research at UCLA focused on integrated circuits and signal processing, said he was inspired by the school’s continuing commitment to cutting-edge research and engineering education.
“I see the quality of the work being done by the students who benefit from the Guru Krupa Foundation fellowships, and I feel very satisfied that research is progressing full speed ahead at UCLA,” said Padmanabhan, who studied electrical engineering at UCLA, earning his master’s degree in 1989 and Ph.D. in 1992. “When I learned that UCLA wanted to advance the frontiers of 3-D integrated circuit design, I felt that this was the right project to further extend my commitment to the school. I look forward to the lab making great advances and cementing UCLA’s role as a premier research institution.”
After graduating from UCLA, Padmanabhan joined the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York. Today he does research in statistical financial modeling for Renaissance Technologies, a New York-based hedge fund management firm.
Padmanabhan is the founder of the Guru Krupa Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides educational opportunities to those who could not otherwise afford it, assistance to impoverished families and support for cultural and religious organizations in the United States and India.
Engineering VI is a 150,000-square-foot anchor for innovation being constructed in the heart of the UCLA campus. The first phase of the building will be completed in early 2015. The Mukund Padmanabhan Systems Scaling Technology Lab and other research and teaching centers will occupy the building in the spring of 2015.
Construction will begin on the second and final phase of Engineering VI in March, and the building will be completed in 2017. The state-of-the-art, $130 million structure is to be financed entirely by donations from UCLA Engineering alumni, supporters and research partners.
“Thanks to the generosity and vision of Mukund Padmanabhan and others, Engineering VI will be a hub of advanced engineering research, education and entrepreneurial activity,” said UCLA Engineering Dean Vijay K. Dhir. “His gift will help to accelerate advances in the semiconductor technology that drives industry and innovation throughout the world. We are grateful for this vital support for our school, faculty and students.”